Sunday, 22 September 2013

Louis Armstrong was wrong!



I used to hate Mothers Day, I had tried my best to get it declared a Bank Holiday at work so we could close, but I failed. I was working at a Mercedes Benz garage and we were open till 4.00pm, we were situated near to a couple of Brewers Fayre pubs and eateries, they were only open till 3.00pm which meant one thing, we would be inundated with tyre kicker’s, and their Mother in Laws.

It seemed to me to be some sought of ritual, the Son in Law reluctantly would take their Wife’s Mum out for lunch on Mothering Sunday, but 3 O’clock was too early to drop the old bat off at her house, they couldn’t risk taking her to their house in case she sat down, settled in and cocked their whole night up too.

The solution to the problem was “Role Play” no not that type! They would take her to the nearest Mercedes Benz Dealer (which unfortunately was us) and would pretend and "play act" that they were looking for a new car, which they weren’t, mostly it was a subliminal hint that if the Mother in Law was going to leave them any money in her will, she may as well give it them now so they wouldn’t have to strap themselves up with finance payments which they couldn’t really afford and would mean that there was a danger that her beloved Grand Children may suffer and not get the latest computer game.

Some weren’t hints, they were almost torturing their Mother in Law by showing her exactly where her savings would end up the minute her estate was divided up between her survivors, and probably before the ink was dry on their inheritance cheque. The bottom line was that I had no chance of selling any of them a car, they were just wasting time till they could drop her off and so that she wouldn't feel that her outing had been a waste of rouge and Lilly of the Valley perfume.

There was one exception, a rather spirited Old Lady who bought a fully specced A Class, as she was signing the order form she leaned over whispered to me that “there was no way that she was going to leave any of her “hard earned” to that little weasel that her Daughter had married”, she whispered it just loud enough so that he could hear her, but he still watched her signing the cheque like a dog watches someone eating a steak dinner, his plan like most of mine, had just gone spectacularly wrong.

We may as well have been a Mother In Law minding service not a Mercedes Benz Dealer, while they were sat in a car that they couldn’t afford, they would sit her down at your desk, leaving you to make small talk and keep her entertained for a few hours, actually they didn’t sit her down at my desk, all my years of experience had taught me one thing, 3.00 O’clock on Mother’s Day hide your chairs in the brochure cupboard and go and make a brew, this pre emptive strike means that you get to go home at 4.00 leaving the other salesmen to hang about till they can prize the pensioners out of the doors and close up.

Whenever you agree to stay behind for a customer I can guarantee that something goes wrong with the deal, if you let a customer dictate the time of your meeting you give them the upper hand and a stronger negotiating position, you are trying to sell a car, but to the customer you appear desperate, being desperate costs you £500 be warned!

Having said that, I was desperate, I’d had a car longer than I should have, I needed to sell it and I had just had my first enquiry on it, the guy on the telephone worked in Manchester and couldn’t make it during normal opening times, my normal opening hours were 7.30 am – 6.00 pm Monday to Friday, 7.30 am – 5 pm, Saturday and 11.00 am till 4.00 pm Sunday, I have a name for people who can’t make it during the 67 hours a week that I already worked “Twats”

The caller said that he would come after work the next night, but he might not make it by 6.00 pm, I reluctantly broke my own rules for the last ever “No Exceptions” time, one proviso I would wait back so long as the customer rang me when he was leaving work, 5 Oclock the next night the customer rang me to say that he was on his way, and I said that I would wait.

I had thought that the reason he may possibly be late was due to the traffic coming out of Manchester which can be terrible, even then it sholdn't take longer than an hour, I had also thought that "On his way meant he was coming directly from work to my pitch" 6.00 pm came and went, and 6.30, at 7.00 pm I decided to ring his mobile to enquire as to his whereabouts’, he said that he would be another 15 minutes, but I could hear a TV in the background, Where are you right now? I asked, unless he had a TV in his car,  I knew I wasn’t going to like the answer, “I’m at home having my tea, then I’m coming to see the car” he said as if it wasn't actually any of my business, The blue touch paper was lit! "Do you think I have nothing better to do than sit here waiting for you to have your tea?"  That was obviously exactly what he thought, as his answer was “Look, Do you want to sell the car or not? Mine was “Not to someone like you I don't, I would rather set fire to it”

A couple of months later I still had the car, but more importantly to me,  I still had my self respect too!

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